I woke up in the morning to the sound of… I honesty am not sure. As I flung aside the mosquito netting over our bed and set two feet on the floor I wondered what kind of animal hidden away back in the jungle here in my favorite secret place in India could possibly make such a God awful noise? And why they were making this God awful noise right after dawn!
I threw on a light sweater as the early morning was chilly and went out to stand on the third floor balcony of our tree house. All down below us a herd of thirty little spotted deer were grazing on the bright green grasses that dot this area of the jungle near Ketti. Was it a stags mating call that had pulled me from my bed at such an early hour as the sun had barely risen above the foggy Blue Mountains in the distance?
I couldn’t think straight at this early hour without a hot India Bru coffee warming my chilly fingers. I walked back inside stealthy so as not to wake anyone else, quickly putting on the kettle and wondering if that was a tusker I had heard, one of the male elephants who roam here in my favorite secret place in India.
A few months back I was blessed to spend a month traveling through India. Of the whole month we were traveling in the southern part of India through the clogged with incredibly bad traffic roads and avenues of Bangalore through the state of Karnataka to the south in Tamil Nadu and much further to the southern tip of Kerala, the area near the mountains and jungles of Ooty and Ketti was my favorite part of the trip. This area seemed hidden away from the smog, traffic and insane loudness of the streets of Bangalore where we spent twenty five percent of our trip. For four days we were away from the none stop honking, the feral dogs parking and the mobile vegetable sellers calling out their products from their carts in the early morning. It was the only place in India we did not constantly hear the announcement to pray coming from the neighborhood mosque.
Being out in the jungle for four days was a fantastic break from the city. The jungles near Bandipur National Park were studded with a crazy variety of animals, monkeys, elephants, wild boars and a ridiculous amount of wild spotted deer. Of all my friends who have ever traveled to India none of them had ever even heard of this, my favorite secret place in India, hidden away up a winding back country road hours outside the city.
India is a huge country and I’m sure every traveler to this vast land has their favorite secret place in India to be found on the the back roads and in the jungle but this area way out in the country, a little to the south west of Bangalore reminded me of Napa Valley if Napa was located in the most gorgeous monkey studded forest. And if Napa had gigantic elephants wandering around scaring the shit out of the resort guests at six a.m.
Not that this was my experience as I sat on our third floor tree house balcony each morning we were in the jungle waking up with the wild spotted deer and the wild boars sniffing and snorting down below us. I’m so glad that even on vacation I’m a early riser as I relaxed sipping my favorite dark Indian chicory coffee and we waited for the armed guards in Jeeps to arrive to escort us to breakfast at the club house.
These were the early mornings at Jungle Retreat near Masinagudi and they are a fantastic memory of the best part of our month long travels through India.